IoT startup Oakter wants to make your existing home appliances smarter

Internet of Things or IoT is believed to be the future of tech, and companies are already gearing towards making it a reality, be it giants like Google, Samsung, or startups. We've seen Bengaluru-based Inoho earlier, and now Noida-based Oakter is working at making your existing home appliances smarter. “Our products are smart plugs and plugged in sensors which provide plug and play solution to provide connectivity to home appliances. We are focused on simple activity of switching on/off devices using the mobile app and software,” co-founder Shishir K Gupta tells us.

Oakter is founded by the trio - Shishir K Gupta, Nithin K David and Varun Gupta – and it’s the second startup for all three. (Shishir) Gupta is a B.Tech. from IIT Delhi, David has completed M.Des. from IIT Delhi and Varun is Electronics engineer from Punjab University.  In 2014, they decided to work together on something that will help Indian users, and began working on solar air conditioner. However the product didn't work out commercially since 1.5 tonne air conditioner would cost Rs 2 lakh. It was during that project that they developed an IoT controller to bring down the night time running cost of the AC, which helped save 30 percent in energy running cost. They took the controller plan ahead and developed the product and business plan around it. And, that's how Oakter emerged.

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Oakter Smart Home Kit is available starting at Rs 4750 for the basic kit that includes one hub and two leaves (6Amp and 16Amp). You can opt for the larger kit at Rs 10,000. These kits are simple to setup over Wi-Fi and will let you control your devices over the smartphone using apps for iOS and Android.

For instance, for the geyser, users can set on-off schedule which saves substantial energy. The same applies to water pumps, controlling AC, and so on. Currently, it has 34 different type of home appliances including AC, geyser, water motor, mosquito repellant, fish tank, rice cooker, lamp, among others.

Talking about what distinguishes Oakter from others, Gupta tells us that their products have been designed as per Indian lifestyle. “Google Nest is thermostat designed for US smart homes, we have a similar plugged in thermostat for Air Conditioners. Nest focus is on reducing the heating when you are away from home to save energy. Our focus is to avoid over-chilling during night and save energy,” he explains.

He further adds that in India, there are a lot of plug points in homes and also high powered plugged in appliances. Hence the startup focuses on high powered and low powered smart plugs as their primary focus. IoT has a lot of potential but Gupta believes that IoT is at the nascent stage not only in India, but also globally. "In last 5 years there has been substantial growth in connected appliances for US, Chinese and European markets, however all indications show that this is just tip of the iceberg. Awareness is one challenge, other big challenge is how different companies can work together on a common protocol,” he adds.

Oakter has received funding from India-Quotient, Spice Group, Binny Bansal, Rajul Garg and few other angel investors. It is making revenue by selling the devices and Gupta hopes the margins will increase with scale. Currently, they are focusing on Delhi NCR region, and have plans to expand their reach in the next six months via awareness programs.


Published Date: Jun 29, 2016 04:45 pm | Updated Date: Jun 29, 2016 04:45 pm